The new IPCC report, building on previous assessments, has made the future impacts of climate change all the more specific and detailed:
Scientists are increasingly finding a greenhouse gas fingerprint in extreme weather around the world. In the UK, the floods of this winter and the droughts of three years ago are a potential sign of things to come: risks of floods, droughts and heatwaves will increase in future. This is because of carbon already in the atmosphere and what we will add in years to come – even if we are successful cutting emissions.
And it’s very true, I know some of these scientists, though I don’t look favorably on their new fondness for adaptation in the face of these changes. One – we don’t mean it. Two – we don’t mean us. If you have the means, you will continue to design and develop useless, needless fighter jets. Meanwhile, Bangladesh. Should be meanswhile. I’m calling the dictionary people tomorrow.
We should still be focused on mitigation – reducing the greenhouse gas pollution that leads to climate change – it is still the cheapest path:
Mitigation efforts bring many “co-benefits” in addition to their reduction of greenhouse gas pollution. They benefit human health, energy security, biodiversity, and the general resilience of our environment and economy. The figures in the article do not include the economic impact of these co-benefits, which significantly reduces the net cost of mitigation.
Likewise, climate change brings harmful impacts that are not included in the purely economic cost estimate used here. This is acknowledged in the article, but it bears repeating. Lost lives don’t have a recognized economic value, and many of the soonest and harshest impacts of climate change will be in poor countries that won’t make a big splash in terms of global GDP.
Image: Chinese fishing nets in Kochi (India) via wikimedia commons.